This hack teaches you how to make a lantern by using a water jug and headlamp.The result is an ambient glow that's great for power outages and camping!Woot!

DIY Water Jug Lantern Hack

DIY Water Jug Lantern Hack by Bamboo Core Fitness

It’s a life-hacking kind of weekend here at Bamboo Core! In my last article, “Why You Should Keep A Coin In The Freezer: The Coin In A Mug Hack,” I taught you a trick that will help you determine whether or not your house had a major power outage. Today’s article continues with the “hacks for blackouts” theme. You are about to learn how to make a lantern from regular household items. In the event of a blackout, flashlights and candles are helpful light sources, but are not always the best. Lanterns are usually preferred because they provide a more soothing, ambient light which offers 365 degrees of illumination – something that is often better for movement, reading, writing, and hanging out with your friends and family.

Items needed to make the DIY water jug lantern

Many of us do not own a lantern – but that is OK because you can construct a makeshift lantern light yourself by using a few items that you most likely own.

Items needed for the DIY Water Jug Lantern: Gallon jug, headlamp, and batteries

The items you need for the water jug lantern are:

  1. A translucent gallon plastic water (or milk jug) filled with water
  2. Headlamp or flashlight
  3. Batteries (for headlamp or flashlight)
  4. Adhesive remover (optional)
DIY water jug lantern hack
Items needed for the DIY Water Jug Lantern: Gallon jug, headlamp, and batteries

How to make the DIY water jug lantern

Collect the items listed above and get ready to make a water jug lantern in about one minute! This homemade lantern is awesome. It projects a soft wash of light to nearby surroundings and produces enough brightness so that you can move around your house (and outdoors), read, write, and play games hands free and with ease. An added bonus is that it has a convenient handle for carrying.


DIY water jug lantern
The DIY water jug lantern
  1. Check your headlamp and if necessary, replace its batteries.
  2. Find a plastic gallon water or milk jug and fill it with water.
  3. Remove all labels from the jug. This step is optional. However, the jug will project more light when it is label-free. (If you have trouble removing the label use an adhesive remover such as Goo Gone.)
  4. Slip the elastic band of the headlamp flashlight strap over the midsection of the jug.
  5. Turn the headlamp so that the light faces toward the inside of the container. When turned on, the beam should shine directly into and through the body of the jug.
  6. Turn the headlamp on. You now have a lantern! 
  7. The water inside the jug will diffuse the light and project an ambient glow that lights up the immediate area around you.

The water jug lantern in actionWater jug lantern glowing

DIY Water jug lantern by Bamboo Core Fitness

Other containers work well too

This technique works well with any clear bottle. You can use the following containers:

Nalgene and recycled water jugs/bottles make great lanterns
Nalgene and recycled Evian bottles make great lantern containers

DIY Water Jug Lantern


  • The DIY water jug lantern is dependent upon your headlamp working properly and requires batteries – usually size AA or AAA.
  • Always have the correct size batteries on hand in case of an emergency.
  • Half-gallon jugs are great for kids to carry.
  • If you do not own a headlamp, direct a flashlight toward the inside of the water jug or bottle. When without a flashlight or headlamp, turn the flashlight app on your cell phone and aim it toward the jug.

Nalgene and recycled Evian bottles make great lantern containers


This DIY water jug lantern hack is a clever repurposing trick that creates a good source of light perfect for illuminating your immediate area when the electricity goes out. I love this hack because it uses a few simple items that most people have and will have during an emergency situation. The DIY water jug lantern is also an awesome tool to use while camping. Multi-tasking the purpose of your water jug and headlamp/flashlight is a great way to minimize the gear you carry with you. If you already have the gear, why not make the most of it?

Please share

If you enjoyed learning about the DIY water jug lantern hack, and/or found it to be useful, please share this trick with a friend. Email this post and share it via social media. Check out the sharing options below this post. Thanks!


Talk to me.

  • What do you think of the DIY water jug hack?
  • Are you going to make a water jug lantern?

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